Infectious complications of dental and periodontal diseases in the elderly population.
Retention of teeth into advanced age makes caries and periodontitis lifelong concerns. Dental caries occurs when acidic metabolites of oral streptococci dissolve enamel and dentin. Dissolution progresses to cavitation and, if untreated, to bacterial invasion of dental pulp, whereby oral bacteria access the bloodstream. Oral organisms have been linked to infections of the endocardium, meninges, mediastinum, vertebrae, hepatobiliary system, and prosthetic joints. Periodontitis is a pathogen-specific, lytic inflammatory reaction to dental plaque that degrades the tooth attachment. Periodontal disease is more severe and less readily controlled in people with diabetes; impaired glycemic control may exacerbate host response. Aspiration of oropharyngeal (including periodontal) pathogens is the dominant cause of nursing home-acquired pneumonia; factors reflecting poor oral health strongly correlate with increased risk of developing aspiration pneumonia. Bloodborne periodontopathic organisms may play a role in atherosclerosis. Daily oral hygiene practice and receipt of regular dental care are cost-effective means for minimizing morbidity of oral infections and their nonoral sequelae. (+info)
Current status of predoctoral geriatric education in U.S. dental schools.
The elderly constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Dental schools must educate dental students so that they are competent and confident in managing the treatment needs of elderly patients. Programs in geriatric dentistry have been developed in response to the changing oral health needs of growing numbers of older adults. The purpose of this online survey was to identify the current status of predoctoral geriatric dental education in U.S. dental schools. A questionnaire relating to the teaching of geriatric dentistry was posted on the World Wide Web, and fifty-four US. dental schools were invited to complete the form. Data from completed questionnaires were submitted to the investigators via email. Following repeated phone calls and emails to urge school administrators to respond to the electronic questionnaire, a 100 percent response rate was achieved. All schools reported teaching at least some aspects of geriatric dentistry, and 98 percent had curricula that contain required didactic material. Sixty-seven percent of schools reported having a clinical component to geriatric dental teaching. Of these schools, the clinical content was required in 77 percent and elective in the rest. Thirty percent of schools reported a specific geriatric dentistry clinic within the school, and 11 percent had a remote clinical site. Sixty-three percent of schools have a geriatric program director or a chairman of a geriatric section. Over a third of schools indicated that they plan to extend the teaching of geriatric dentistry in the future. Geriatric dental education has continued to expand over the last twenty years and has established itself in the U.S. predoctoral dental curriculum. The format of teaching the subject varies considerably among the dental schools. Although didactic teaching of geriatric dentistry has increased markedly in the last two decades, clinical experience, both intramurally and extramurally, did not keep pace. (+info)
A predoctoral clinical geriatric dentistry rotation at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry.
Predoctoral dental students from University of the Pacific School of Dentistry provide initial and yearly dental evaluations for participants of On Lok Senior Health Services on site at On Lok centers. Student dentists also complete some dental procedures including denture fabrication, adjustments and repairs, hard and soft relines, scaling/root planing, polishing, and limited restorative treatments. A wide range of age-prevalent oral conditions such as candidiasis and xerostomia are identified and treated or managed. Students may also be called upon to present patient needs weekly to a member of the interdisciplinary team for discussion. Students periodically review instructions and devices for oral health care with the On Lok staff. The program is intended to be mutually beneficial to the participants of On Lok and Pacific student dentists. While the majority of comprehensive and emergency services are provided by On Lok staff dentists and contract specialists, the student dentist program has broadened the scope of the oral health program at On Lok and has been well integrated with the other day services. Meanwhile, Pacific students gain experience identifying and managing the complex social, economic, and health needs of frail elders in San Francisco. (+info)
Setting up a mobile dental practice within your present office structure.
Different service models have emerged in Canada and the United States to address the issue of senior citizens' lack of access to comprehensive dental care. Over the past decade, one such model, the use of mobile dental service units, has emerged as a practical strategy. This article describes a mobile unit, operated as an adjunct to the general practitioner's office and relying mainly on existing office resources, both human and capital, to deliver services at long-term care institutions. The essential components of a profitable geriatric mobile unit are described, including education, equipment, marketing research and development, and human resource management. Issues related to patient consent and operating expenditures are also discussed. Data from one practitioner's mobile dental unit, in Hamilton, Ontario, are presented to demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of this approach. (+info)
Understanding dental students' knowledge and perceptions of older people: toward a new model of geriatric dental education.
Increasing numbers of older people and the decreasing rates of edentulism highlight the importance of dental education that focuses on oral health and aging. This evaluation study assessed dental students' knowledge and beliefs about older people as well as their awareness of the biopsychosocial concerns that are potential barriers to oral health care. Dental students' (N=202) knowledge and perceptions of older people were evaluated before and after the first year of a new educational program. Students completed the Palmore Facts on Aging Quiz II (FAQ II) and answered questions about health problems and social concerns that may influence patient care. The intervention was twofold: 1) the CARES (Counseling, Advocacy, Referral, Education, and Service) Program, a clinical collaboration between the schools of Dental Medicine and Social Work, was initiated; and 2) all students were exposed to geriatric educational interventions. FAQ II scores did not significantly change, but dental students' awareness of mental health, independence, and social concerns increased between Times 1 and 2. The results of the study suggest that positive interactions with older adults by health care providers may depend more on positive perceptions toward older people than increased knowledge about aging. Future research will focus on positive experiences with older adults and attitudes of dental students toward the elderly. (+info)
Access to dental care among older adults in the United States.
Oral health is essential to an older adult's general health and well-being. Yet, many older adults are not regular users of dental services and may experience significant barriers to receiving necessary dental care. This literature review summarizes national trends in access to dental care and dental service utilization by older adults in the United States. Issues related to geriatric dentistry and concerns about access to dental care include the increasing diversity of the older adult population, concerns about the degree to which the dental workforce is prepared to meet the oral health needs of older patients, and the adequacy of the future workforce, including concern about training opportunities in gerontology and geriatrics for dental and allied dental practitioners. (+info)
Dental care for aging populations in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, United kingdom, and Germany.
This article reviews access to and financing of dental care for aging populations in selected nations in Europe. Old age per se does not seem to be a major factor in determining the use of dental services. Dentition status, on the other hand, is a major determinant of dental attendance. In addition to perceived need, a variety of social and behavioral factors as well as general health factors have been identified as determinants of dental service use. Frail and functionally dependent elderly have special difficulties in accessing dental care; private dental practitioners are hesitant to provide dental care to these patients. One reason may be that the fee for treating these patients is too low, considering high dental office expenses. Another reason may be problems related to management of medically compromised patients. This raises an important question: does inadequate training in geriatric dentistry discourage dentists from seeking opportunities to treat geriatric patients? Overall, the availability of dental services, the organization of the dental health care delivery system, and price subsidy for dental treatment are important factors influencing access to dental care among older people in Europe as well as in the United States. (+info)
Insights from students following an educational rotation through dental geriatrics.
Little is known about how dental students respond to dental geriatrics. This article describes a qualitative analysis of reflective journals submitted over two years by ninety-two senior students who participated in a brief clinical rotation in long-term care facilities. We used an inductive interpretive approach to analyze the journals. Eight themes emerged from the analysis: 1) complexity of the institutional environment; 2) heterogeneity of the resident population; 3) multidisciplinary environment; 4) record keeping; 5) interactions with residents; 6) the difficulty of oral health care for frail residents; 7) bridging the gap between theory and practice; and 8) the emotional impact of the clinical experiences. Apparently, the students appreciated the opportunity to witness the complexity of care in a multidisciplinary context and to observe a practical program of oral health care. They described the rotations as unique and emotionally challenging but very worthwhile. Overall, they wrote positively about their experiences with the elderly residents, acknowledged the contribution of the rotation as important to their clinical maturation, and reported that the experience enhanced their appreciation of a dentist's professional responsibilities. (+info)